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WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
For Ian Higginson, soaring highs and crashing lows were all too familiar sensations. For years, he'd wash down gram after gram of cocaine with vodka - on binges that went on for days.
And that 'toxic' combination is thought to be contributing to an increasing number of suicides with suicidal despair being something that recovering addict Ian has worked hard to pull himself out of.
The 44-year-old is now 14 months clean and has quite literally turned his life around. He now offers counselling to those in a similar position as the one he was in and has even started his own business.
Earlier this year, he graphically revealed the effects 25 years of cocaine abuse had on his nose - and was inundated with messages of support, and people seeking support for their own recovery, ever since.
Now he's revealed how cocaine and booze took him to his lowest ebb - as coroners report a rise in the number of 'self inflicted' deaths caused by the recreationally abused cocktail.
Ian from Wythenshawe, Manchester, tried to take his own life twice and explained: "The first time I'd been out on a binge, had loads of coke and drink. I'd just bought a new house, things were going well. I was at my mum's and found a load of tablets and took them.
"She found me on the bed foaming at the mouth. I was taken to hospital and the staff said they didn't know how I'd survived. The other time I was going through some s*** and was hitting the coke hard. It was Christmas and the only person I saw over it was my dealer.
"I felt that s*** about myself I bought a load of tablets and washed them down with half a litre of vodka and a load of cocaine. I wanted to die, but I was in so much pain, so I ended up calling an ex-girlfriend who called an ambulance. I just felt so down and lonely, and I'd been mixing the two on a bender for two days."
Research by American Addiction Centres found that people who struggle with cocaine abuse often mix the drug with alcohol to reduce its negative affects such as anxiety and twitching because it's a depressant.
For Ian, using the two together was about keeping the party going - with feelings of self-worthlessness, anxiety and depression hitting him hard in the aftermath.
Ian continued: "I'd be taking a gram of coke and half a litre of spirits alongside it. You see a lot of people take cocaine to sober them up while out drinking. When you do both together, you become more wired.
"It wakes them up, and because it heightens your senses they feel more on it. They also feel able to drink more and stay up longer."
At one point in his life Ian was spending £400 ($520) a week on cocaine. Working as an air steward gave him access to cheap booze and intensified his habit.
He explained: "Whenever I landed, I would pick up a bottle of vodka from duty free and the first thing I'd do when I got home was a line of cocaine then pour myself a vodka and coke. But it wasn't a case of having a drink and one or two lines.
"I used to go out on binges that would last days. But the comedown is horrible. You feel alone, depressed, weak and disappointed with yourself, like there's nothing to look forward to. I remember when I was in my heyday, living it up - I had everything going for me.
"I was flying around the world, I had a beautiful girlfriend, and after a binging session I lay there in bed thinking I had nothing and questioning what I had to look forward to. I used to get really low.
"All of your feelings and emotions would be heightened, but whatever goes up has to come down. It's like a vicious cycle. You feel like s*** so what do you do, take some more."
Ian is now 14 months clean, and has started counselling others in similar situations, using his own experience to help some of them kick the habit.
He has also started his own business - Bee Prepared Ltd - which launched earlier this month in Wilmslow, Cheshire, offering services such as funeral plans and wills.
Ian added: "I've got my focus back, the lead in my pencil again."
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